In Depth

What Greta Thunberg is doing in the UK this week

Teen climate crisis activist to lead march through Bristol

Greta Thunberg is urging fellow young climate activists to join her at a last-minute “school strike” in Bristol this week.

The 17-year-old climate crisis activist will be taking part in a Bristol Youth Strike 4 Climate (BYS4C) march starting in the city’s College Green on Friday morning. 

Thunberg contacted local campaigners because she “wanted to strike with us”, the BYS4C group’s Izzy Smitheman told the BBC

“We didn’t have a strike planned, so it’s a lot of last-minute organisation,” said Smitheman, also 17. “The whole Bristol community has come together to make it happen. We think Greta’s presence will make it very big and bring a lot of energy to the strike.”

The Times reports that thousands of children are expected to flock to the event to protest alongside Thunberg, who is taking a gap year that has already seen her meeting with world leaders and sailing across the Atlantic.

She is expected to travel to the city by train and is due to make a speech before joining the march.

Announcing her visit, the Time Person of the Year for 2019 wrote on Twitter: 

Bristol City Council Green Party Councillor Carla Denyer told the Bristol Live website: “Greta Thunberg and the millions of climate strikers she inspired have played such a crucial role in forcing climate change up the agenda and ensuring that politicians and other leaders cannot be seen to be ignoring the issue.”

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Thunberg’s appearance in Bristol comes as her mother outlines the difficulties that the teenager, who has Asperger’s syndrome, experienced growing up.

In an extract published in the The Observer from the Thunbergs’ upcoming book, Our House is on Fire: Scenes of a Family and a Planet in Crisis, Malena Ernman, 49, said that her daughter developed an eating disorder and was “slowly disappearing into some kind of darkness” before she started protesting.

Ernman writes: “Greta was 11 and was not doing well. She cried on her way to school. She cried in her classes and during her breaks, and the teachers called home almost every day.”

However, since beginning her activism, “Greta’s energy is exploding”, Ernman continues. “There doesn’t seem to be any outer limit, and even if we try to hold her back she just keeps going. By herself.”

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